Monday, May 9, 2016

Lake Powell fishing trip

After Lisa's funeral last Saturday, I decided to take the kids on a fishing trip to Lake Powell that was focused on them in an effort to help them cope with the loss of their mom. I had been in contact with Wayne Gustaveson, the head of the Utah DWR at Lake Powell that manages the fisheries there. He offered to meet up with us on Monday and take us out on the lake and show us how to catch striped bass.

We pulled the boat down to Page, Arizona and went to Antelope Point marina where we were able to stay on the houseboat of a friend for a few days. We kept the houseboat at the marina the whole time but would go out on the lake in my little boat. 
We met up with Wayne at 11:00 on Monday to go do some fishing. He was incredibly generous to take time out of his day to teach us how to catch some stripers. I had never been striper fishing and was so confused as to where to even begin.  We first started out by the intake for the power plant. We were using anchovies on jig heads and were fishing at about 20-30 feet deep. Tucker caught one striper, but the action was really slow so we went up lake a little further to a little inlet. We caught a couple more, but still not much going on.

Then Wayne took us up Navajo canyon to try another spot. He had mentioned how that week at about 1:00 in the afternoon the fish started really biting, and that seemed to be the case again because right around 1:00 we started catching the stripers like crazy.

At one point Aubrey and Tucker caught a striper at the same time. I didn't have time to unhook each fish so I just netted them both. There were times that three of the kids would all have a fish on at the same time.

We kept drifting over the point just past the double islands. Each time we would drift past the point we would catch fish. It was fast action fishing. I never had the chance to fish because I was too busy baiting hooks, unhooking fish, untangling lines, etc. That's ok though because this trip was for the kids. And as you can see from the photos, they were in heaven.

In all we caught over 30 fish on Monday. Wayne even filleted up some of them for us to take home. We cooked them up for dinner tonight and they were pretty tasty.

On Tuesday morning I took the kids out to Horse Shoe bend for a little hike. The views there are pretty spectacular. They enjoyed the hike and the views.

After lunch I took the kids out fishing again and headed back to that same productive point up Navajo canyon.

The fishing was very good again. In about two hours time we caught around 20 more fish. Between the two days each kid caught at least 12 stripers.

I ended up calling it a day for fishing because I was tired of baiting so many hooks and untangling so many lines. I then took the kids down Navajo canyon to the big sand hill and let the kids run around and catch lizards.

Then I drove up lake to show them some of the spectacular scenery. It had been about 20 years since I had last gone down to the south end of the lake and I had forgotten how beautiful the mesas, buttes, and vistas are. It was also crazy how at 4:00 in the afternoon Padre Bay was smooth as could be. I was dying to water ski it, but I didn't have anyone with me that could drive the boat. Now my goal this summer is to teach Tucker how to drive the boat and pick me up while water skiing so that I can still water ski while out on the lake with the kids.

This picture is of Dominquez Butte.

This is Gunsight Butte.

And in the middle of this photo is the cookie jar.

It was a great trip for the kids. While I did have fun too, I think I need a solo trip away from everything where I can just relax and decompress.

The kids are still doing great at adjusting to life without mom. They are rock stars. I think there are three reasons why they are handling things so well. One is because of how open Lisa and I were with them throughout the entire process. We talked about death openly and discussed it in a way that it wasn't scary. Easter Sunday really helped us to be able to explain the resurrection to the kids as well. They now firmly understand that even though mom's body is buried at the cemetery, her spirit still lives on. And they are excited that she is in heaven and we will see her again someday. Another reason I think the kids are doing so well with everything is because of how long the whole ordeal took. They had ample time to process everything as it was unfolding. The third, and biggest, reason why they are doing so well is because we have been blessed with a very heavy dosage of the Spirit in our home. We have felt the peace and comfort that come from the Holy Ghost and this has helped to ease the pain.

I have my good days and my bad days. Some days I am heart broken that I no longer have Lisa by my side, I feel frustrated about being a single father of four young kids, I have a tendency to feel sorry for myself, and most of all I really miss talking with Lisa. It's hard to lose your confidant and companion. Thankfully the bad days are outnumbered by the good days though. I have some good days where I can distinctly feel that Lisa is very happy right now. It brings me peace to feel that she is happy. I also am relieved that she is out of pain and no longer battling that difficult fight with cancer. It was so exhausting and difficult to see her deteriorate so much over those final few months. I know she's in a better place and will still be allowed to help raise our kids from the other side of the vail.

I am mostly just trying to trust in the Lord that he won't abandon me, that he'll keep sustaining me and helping me go on, and all of this heartache will serve as a refiner's fire and help me become a much better individual. It reminds me of what Elder Hallstrom said at conference, "Recently, I was in a meeting with Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. In teaching the principle that mortal life can be agonizing but our hardships have eternal purpose- even if we do not understand it at the time- Elder Holland said, 'You can have what you want, or you can have something better.'"

Whenever I start to feel sorry for myself and think of how unfair this all is, I find comfort in the words from Elder Renlund that he spoke at conference. "The sacrament truly helps us know our Savior. It reminds us of His innocent suffering. If life were truly fair, you and I would never be able to stand clean before God. In this respect, I am grateful that life is not fair.
"At the same time, I can emphatically state that because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, ultimately, in the eternal scheme of things, there will be no unfairness. All that is unfair about our life can be made right. Our present circumstances may not change, but through God's compassion, kindness, and love, we will all receive more than we deserve, more than we can ever earn, and more than we can ever hope for. We are promised that 'God shall wipe away all tears from our eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are all passed away."


Sarah said...

I'm so glad you were able to get away with your cute kiddos. I was talking to your sister-in-law Lisa at the viewing (she and I grew up together) and she said they had had a hard time seeing her in her casket. I am so glad they are doing as well as they are and that you are all feeling comforted by the spirit. I am so glad you will continue to blog. Even though I have never met any of you, it makes me happy to stay in touch with Lisa's family in a small way.

Lettie B. said...

Right now you are my hero. I'm so impressed with your handling of this. that puts it in minimal words that I wish I could explain better. Super impressed and inspired by your strength and honesty about the less strong moments.
What a great dad to take your kids out and giving them a fun time in a sad time. And if you need a boat driver, I know a guy that lives in my house that would consider it you doing him a favor if he had to go boating with you so you could have someone drive you. Poor Nate hasn't gone wakeboarding in years!

Jared + Carly Reid said...

You are amazing Cody. You are doing a great job. We love you.

Lisa said...

I am really glad you were able to take this trip to Lake Powell together! It is good to see the kids happy and smiling. We are still thinking about and praying for your family everyday. Kevin and I are both here whenever you need someone to talk too.

Lisa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laurel said...

So glad you were able to do this for your kids. Alone, you will be a more present and invested parent than many kids get with two parents in the home.